About 40 guests gathered in front of the Brown County Museum of History Tuesday morning to dedicate the new front exterior and celebrate the renaming of the building as the Robert H. and Mary S. Blake Center for History Education.
Guests stood on the front porch in front of the entrance, on the sidewalk in front of the building and on the edge of the street as Dion White, president of the Museum of History board, cut a ribbon with a large pair of scissors.
Guests also gathered around spoke with Mary Blake, who recently celebrated her 97th birthday and was accompanied by other family members.
The renamed building houses the majority of the museum’s collection.
A donor from out of the area gave money to renovate the front entrance by making repairs to the building, installing double glass door and creating 324 square feet of exterior signage. The donor, who chose to remain anonymous, selected Robert and Mary Sue Blake to be honored because of their long business and personal lives in Brownwood.
Museum director Wanda Furgason said education is a major focus of the museum’s mission, which she said draws many out of town visitors.
“Our role in the community is education through exhibits and programs,” Ferguson said.
Mary Blake survives her husband, Bob. The Blakes came to Brownwood in 1949 and were business owners and active in the community for many years.
Featured on the new signage are photo murals depicting six people from different eras of Brown County history:
• Sheriff Charles Bell, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1898.
• Dr. Mollie Armstrong, the first woman optometrist in Texas.
• H.O. Kelly, a local artist who became famous across America and in New York.
• Col. Jack Bradley, a decorated fighter ace in World War II.
• Katherine Anne Porter, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.
• Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Comanche Indians.
• “It is exciting to have this renovated new exterior”, said board
Details on each of the six are exhibited within the Museum of History.
Waldrop Construction, Early Glass and Brownwood Door were involved in the construction phase of the façade project, with ASAP Creative Arts creating and installing the photo mural signage.
The Museum of History includes the renamed education Building at 209 N. Broadway and Old Jail across the street. The two buildings together contain approximately 7,000 square
feet of exhibit space on frontier law enforcement, pioneer life and World War II Camp Bowie.
Also within the building is the ‘Kid’s Zone’, a hands-on activity area for children.
The Museum of History is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10-2 and Saturdays from 10-4. Call 325-641-1926
for more information.